The Truth About Root Canals

Is that a toothache you’re feeling or is it just your reaction to the term “root canal?” Lots of people are scared of root canal – they sound terrifying and the popular opinion is that they DEFINITELY hurt! But could it be that someone on the internet is (gasp!) wrong?

At Northwest Dental Group we see a lot of patients that are scared of root canals. Some come in knowing they might need one and others show up hoping and hoping that they don’t need one! Regardless of that perception our root canal patients leave our Rochester dentist office feeling much better than when they came in!

We want to talk about some of the common root canal myths today. We’re going to point out how they’re wrong so you don’t have to worry about what you hear on the internet! It’s important to go to a reputable source on your dental concerns, and you’re in luck – we’re a great dental care team!

Myth: Root Canals Are Painful

This is probably the most common myth about root canals and is also easy to dismiss. To understand how the root canal procedure doesn’t cause pain we first need to explain what a root canal actually is!

A cavity will keep going deeper and deeper into your teeth. At the center of each tooth is a soft material called the pulp, which is full of nerves and blood vessels. When a cavity reaches the root of your tooth the pulp gets infected and you experience a lot of pain! That’s where a root canal comes in – we use special tools to go deep into the tooth and remove the infected pulp.

During the root canal procedure the whole area is numb – you won’t feel a thing! And contrary to the belief that root canals hurt it’s actually the very reason you have a root canal performed – to relieve pain! Most patients report feeling better almost as soon as the anesthesia wears off. There may be some sensitivity afterward but it’s usually minimal and you recover quite quickly!

Myth: Root Canals Cause Diseases

You know now that root canals are necessary when there’s an infection at the root of your tooth. There’s an all-too-common belief that root canals are responsible for the spread of infection into the bloodstream and elsewhere in the body but that’s simply not true. In fact it’s based on some very old and thoroughly debunked medical research!

Early in the 20th century a dentist named Dr. Weston Price was a major proponent of focal infection theory. The idea was that an infection in the body could be linked directly to a focal point – in this case an infected tooth. Dr. Price believed that all infected teeth should be completely removed instead of treated through root canals.

By the 1940s the focal infection theory was dismissed as bad science, just like many other theories before it. But for some reason it hangs on at the fringes and gives patients bad information! You only have to worry about an infected root spreading infection if it’s left untreated.

Myth: It’s Better To Pull The Tooth

This myth goes along with the focal infection theory, and coincidentally the amount of teeth extracted decreased once the theory was disproven. At our Rochester dentist offices we always try to save your natural teeth whenever possible! Pulling a tooth is always a last resort and root canals are virtually always effective at stopping damage, relieving pain, and allowing you to keep your natural tooth!

It’s important to preserve your teeth because of the role they play in stabilizing your mouth. Even the loss of a single tooth can lead to bone loss, gum recession, shifting teeth and a chain reaction of tooth loss! A bridge can stop damage and a dental implant can eliminate the possibility completely but we’d rather you keep your tooth!

You Don’t Have Anything To Fear!

If you’re still nervous about the possibility of a root canal we can help through anxiety relief options like dental sedation. We want you to get the critical dental care you need and we’re willing to help you feel comfortable and at ease in order to do it!

If you are concerned you might need a root canal don’t hesitate to call our Rochester dentist offices. You can reach us by calling 507-216-6252 or you can request an appointment right here online! We look forward to helping you!